Friday, May 2, 2014

Musical wind


We went through the Tramontane, the Mistral, and the Bise -- the strong winds of southern France, the French Alps, and Switzerland -- on the drive from Argeles-sur-mer up to Geneva. The orange-and-white wind socks along the side of the road (the same kind as they use at airports) were straight out all day.

Our poor little Peugot was frequently pushed sideways, or at least would have been if I didn't have a tight two-handed grip on the steering wheel.

But the strangest thing was the sound.

After we left the Abbey at Fontfroide (which I'm sure Donna-Lane will blog about: http://theexpatwriter.blogspot.ch/) and headed up the A9 highway above Narbonne, we started to hear strange noises. Not mechanical noises, though my first instinct was that there was something wrong with the car. More musical-style noises.

Just to be sure, I pulled into a rest stop with a gas station and popped the hood (took me about 10-15 minutes to figure out where the hood release is located - the car is new to us). All the fluids checked out, so we continued on.

More noises, actually more frequent. So awhile later, another rest stop, and added oil just to be on the safe side. The noises continued.

We were pretty sure it wasn't mechanical. There was no pattern to the noise, other than the sounds occurred in areas of the strongest winds. We took a vote, and unanimously decided the 'music' was caused by the way the wind worked its way through the car's undercarriage and grill.

About 2/3 of the way to Geneva, we ran through the first of about three brief rainstorms. After the rain, the winds calmed in that area, and, surprise, no more car 'music.'

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